Although there are more than a million cybersecurity positions available worldwide, the global shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals is set to continue to grow at rapid pace in 2016, putting public and private sector organizations at risk, according to a recent survey by Cybrary, the world’s first and only no-cost cybersecurity massive open online course provider.
The results of the survey of 435 senior level cybersecurity professionals revealed that the cybersecurity job market is growing four times faster than the overall IT market and 12 times faster than the overall job market. Moreover, 47 percent of companies plan to hire between one and 10 cybersecurity workers in 2016, compared to 42 percent in 2015.
Despite the burgeoning demand for cyber talent, there is a lack of professionals with the skills necessary to fill these open positions. More than 80 percent of respondents indicated that they always or sometimes have trouble recruiting skilled cybersecurity professionals.
According to the survey respondents, the greatest challenge to recruiting cybersecurity professionals is a lack of talent, as well as a lack of resources to find and attract talent.
Ryan Corey, co-founder of Cybrary, told Homeland Security Today that the overpriced information security training market often prevents otherwise qualified professionals from entering or progressing in the cybersecurity field.
“Cost is a significant barrier to addressing the cybersecurity skills gap,” Corey said. “The most in demand cybersecurity certifications are Security+, Ethical Hacking, Network+, CISSP, and A+. The problem is they are expensive. It’s a huge roll of the dice to first get into a class and then pay these costs.”
Corey believes removing the financial barriers associated with cyber training will play a critical role in addressing the cyber professional shortage, which has left many organizations unable to mitigate damaging cyberattacks.
Cybrary is attempting to address this shortage by removing the financial barriers associated with cyber education. Corey says 5,000-7,000 users are learning on Cybrary every day, and 80,000 a month. Cybrary trained over 300,000 people in 2015.
Cybrary is particularly attractive to millennials—individuals born roughly between the years 1980 and the early 2000s, which comprise 70 percent of the company’s user base.
Appealing to millennials may be key to solving the cybersecurity talent gap. Homeland Security Today recently reported on a study commissioned by Raytheon and the National Cyber Security Alliance, which revealed that within the past year, a record 79 percent of US businesses reported a cybersecurity based incident. Although this translates to a high demand for cybersecurity professionals, young people are not choosing cyber careers.
The study showed that despite the fact that millennials are increasingly interested in pursuing cyber careers, they often lack the needed skills and encouragement that educators should be providing to grow the talent pipeline. Cybrary hopes to harness this interest and make the cybersecurity field more accessible to the millennial generation.
“Companies and the public at large should be concerned with these data, which call attention to the continuing impact of the cyber security talent gap,” Corey said. “Companies with pressing cyber security needs are finding that there’s a major lack of qualified professionals to fill their positions, which makes them vulnerable to cyber attacks. This underscores the need for better access to cyber security training, which can get new talent into the field quickly, help close the cyber security skills gap, and make companies more secure.”